Rotary to conduct free cleft lip surgery for children - Omotosho
Dr. Mike Omotosho is the governor, Rotary International, District 9125, covering 23 states of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In this interview, he spoke on the club’s effort in eradicating polio worldwide and other humanitarian activities in the country.
How do Rotarians work with government on community projects? Rotary does not represent government. What we do is to augment whatever it is that government is doing. As Rotarians we support whatever activities government does that is needed in the communities.
We look out for those gap where government is unable to touch, we go there and then begin to implement the projects just to give hope to the hopeless, home to the homeless and succor to the to the less privileged.
The rotary clubs we have in different communities come up with projects for those communities. We do a need assessment first, we then sit with the community and come up with projects that benefit them, and plan a sustainability method to ensure that when we leave, they will able to keep the project running, and we go back to check them if they are still okay and managed well.
We have plans to sink three bore holes in each of the 16 local governments area of Kwara State in the first phase, because nationally across our districts, we are planning about two hundred and fifty boreholes (250).
So if we are able to bring at least 50 to Kwara State, we will know that we have done something and there are several other projects that are still in the pipeline.
We are planning with the state government to carry out free cleft lip surgery to Ilorin In February. A group of American volunteers, about seven of them would be coming in to perform the surgery.
They have already come for a preliminary analysis and children with cleft lips will be brought to Ilorin from all over the country and we will have a free surgery for them so that we can put back smile back on their faces because these are children who are ordinarily cannot mix well because of stigmatization and by the time we do this for them, they will mix freely with the people in the society and live a normal life again.
When will Nigeria be polio free because you mentioned earlier that Nigeria was just removed from the polio endemic nation’s list?
Our flagship programme is polio eradication, and we are happy for successfully interrupting polio transmission because we have gone one full year without any case of polio in Nigeria.
However, we have just been removed from the list of polio endemic nations, we are not polio free yet as a nation until July 2017 when we have gone three full years without any case of polio, that is when they will say Nigeria is finally polio free.
What other areas are you planning to embark on since polio eradication is almost over?
We have about 35 thousand clubs present in 200 countries and geographical regions , and we have three clubs in Kwara State but hoping to go to ten very soon.
Each rotary club is encouraged to focus on six areas, and they are: disease prevention and eradication, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, education and literacy, poverty alleviation and community development, peace and conflict resolutions.
When we get rid of polio completely in the world that is when rotary can now come up with what next to use as our flagship project again. It is a bit premature to start talking about the next flagship project when we have not completely eradicated polio in the world.
What are rotary achievements in Kwara State?
We have commissioned seven projects today which includes boreholes in different locations of the state. We have donated playground set to an orphanage home too where those children can play around. We also donated to a secondary school where we also inaugurated rotary club to see and feel what Rotarians enjoy.
What challenges do you encounter as Rotarians? Well, a lot of people still do not understand the work of rotary.Our people are not used to giving back to the society and secondly, people do not understand that it is an inherent need for every human being to be happy when you give back.
They do not understand the idea of giving back but only gives when it is convenient for them. That is not the idea. The idea is to sacrifice from the little you already have. No amount of money is too small or too much.
Dr. Mike Omotosho